Vacation is the best time to spend and hang out with everyone in the family. Family vacations bring immense joy and happiness to all members of the family. After a yearlong hard work and stress, our mind needs some relaxation and refreshment. Vacation is a way to refresh and recharge one’s mind and soul. When it comes to naming a convenient vacation season, the only time of the year that comes to our mind is summer.
Last summer we pondered about the of best vacation options. There were two options that came to our mind. Going to nature’s abode or to some fun/theme parks. As it was summertime we obviously wanted to have a good summer escape by going to some high-altitude places.
So, we decided upon Ladakh – “a paradise on earth”. We planned our trip to Leh in May. As it was a D.I.Y trip, we booked all the hotels, flights and hired a traveler for local sightseeing ourselves. All the bookings were done one month in advance to ensure a hassle-free journey. We started our trip from Delhi and marked all the places to go on our maps.
Ladakh, a land of passes, is known for its scenic beauty. Nature is at its best in this place. We took a flight from Delhi as it is the easiest way to commute. By air, you get to have a bird’s eye view of the Himalayan range before reaching Ladakh.
It’s an enthralling and a spectacular view. It took 2 hours to reach the place and finally, we are in Leh. We all are very excited to see the place. When we got out of the airport the feeling was one-of-its-own-kind. The airport was surrounded by mountains. A welcoming gush of cold wind flowed on to my face at once. We felt that we were on top of the world. The place is very beautiful but it being on a high altitude, the oxygen content is very low. Once you reach Leh it is advisable to take rest for at least 24 hrs to get acclimatized to the weather.
We carried all necessary medicines along with us as we might have mountain sickness. Few were nauseous and breathless. It took a couple of hours to get normal. As we climbed the road to reach our guesthouse, we started panting. Then soon we checked into our guest house named Sia-la. The people there are quite friendly and helpful. There we got refreshed and started our city tour.
On day one we went to Shanti stupa which is on the hilltop. It provided a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape. Buddhism is the predominant religion of the people and they feature a Buddhist lifestyle. The inhabitants of Leh are originally Dards from Indo-Aryan ethnicity. We meditated there for few minutes and it relaxed us. We then proceeded on to next part of our itinerary, that is Leh palace. On the way we saw landscapes surrounded by majestic mountains.
Leh palace was previously inhabited by royal kings. It dates to the 16th century. It is a nine-storied building accommodating the royal family of Leh. In the evening we went to the Leh market. The local market depicted the culture, tradition, and lifestyle of the people.
Next day early morning we went to the magnetic hill. It is on the Leh-Kargil Baltic national highway. The name is derived as it has a magnetic influence on the vehicles parked, a phenomenon that defies gravity. When we park vehicles on the road they automatically move upward at speed of 10 – 20 km per hour.
Not only the vehicles parked are attracted by hills but also the helicopters and aircraft have the same impact on them. The locals believe that there are some supernatural powers in the mountain.
After enjoying the spectacular view of the mountain, the next place on our bucket list was Hall of fame. We got on to our traveler and while traveling we came across another place called Indus -Zanskar Sangam.
On the way to the hall of fame, we came across a lot of military camps and soldiers passing by. It created a sense of patriotism as we entered the place. The first thing to catch my attention was Indian-Sino war of 1962. The war took place between India and China due Himalayan border issue. There we saw a small documentary of Captain Vijayant Thapar’s heroics of the war. Overall, it was a fulfilling day, with a revoked sense of patriotism.
On the third day, we checked out of the hotel and proceeded to our next destination Nubra valley. It is 160 km from Leh and it took 5 hours to reach. While traveling, we came across many beautiful mountains and were spellbound by the nature’s beauty. The journey to Nubra valley was very thrilling. The valley is located below Siachen glacier. It is green in some parts and rocky at others. On the way to Nubra, we stopped at Khardung La pass.
Mighty Khardung La pass
Before reaching Khardung La pass we encountered many snow-capped as well as barren mountains. We stopped at a hilltop to have some hot Maggi. We took the break at the middle of our journey to capture all the sceneries. Now the real adventure of the trip began. There was an avalanche zone and passing through that is very dangerous and adventurous. But to reach Khardung La pass one must cross it.
Most of us refused to get down as there was very less oxygen available in the place. Our car had two oxygen cylinders to use in case of an emergency. Then slowly we got down the car and we were at an altitude of 18,379ft, literally at the top of the world. It is advisable not to stay more than 20 mins at this place. We started panting within those 20 mins. We finally reached the world’s topmost motorable road. Then we proceeded to Nubra valley.
There are three towns to visit in Nubra valley. We visited Diskit monastery and Hunder. The monastery was on the hilltop and was quite impressive. There was a prayer hall of Lord Maitreya Buddha. The statue is a symbol of world peace.
Sand dunes of Nubra valley
Gone were the rocky formations, now, all one could see was flowing sand dunes. Hunder is the place I am talking about. One can find camels in this place, not the single- humped ones we are habituated to seeing, but double humped ones. We had an adventurous ride on a double- humped camel. The place is very crowded because of the activity.
Stay at Nubra valley
We preferred staying in mountain camps rather than rooms. Temperatures there are very low and hence warmth of wool is a must. We spent a night in camps relished our hot breakfast and started to Pangong lake via 3 idiots school or Rancho school.
Pangong Tso lake
Pangong tso lake is a Tibetan for high grassland lake. Almost 60% of the lake is in China and remaining in INDIA. The line of control of the two countries passes through the lake. The lake freezes in winter despite being saline.
The school became famous after Aamir Khan’s movie 3 idiots was shot in it. The name is of the school is Druk Padma Karpo school. Soon after entering the school we saw a café at the entrance. The guide takes you to different parts of the school without disturbing students. There was a wall portraying some paintings of 3 idiots..The school has a lively atmosphere. The school is awarded as a most beautiful school in the world by BBC LONDON in the year 2016. There we dressed up like ladakhi people.We were now at the end of the trip.We came back to Leh to our take flight to Delhi.
My overall experience of the trip was superb and unforgettable. We all had a good time together.I found writing this made me recollect the beautiful memory. I don’t know that I made beautiful memories in Ladakh until I recollect them now to write. I recommend everybody visit this palace a minimum of once within the life.